Definition of limited edition?

I’m wondering how the music industry defines ‘limited edition’?

I have a few so called LP limited editions or special editions.

For instance MFSL T Rex, Electric Warrior my edition is in the late 2000s but there’s no indication of the edition size.

Miles Davies, Kind of Blue original master recordings , limited edition, my number is in the mid 18,000s.

How is that limited?

Patricia Barber ,Cafe Blue , Impex Records, 1 Step. Now this is limited 5000 and mine is below 1500. A superb recording.

For these high profile recordings we usually have to pay more, which is understandable.

Each one of these were sold to me as a limited edition, however for the first two, I no idea to how they’re limited.
Any thoughts?

The cynic in me would say that the marketing dept does it by working out how many are likely to buy it, then take-off 25% or so to make sure there is enough demand.


I agree with @paulbysea, that limited editions appear to be largely defined by marketing. However, I do see some merit in saying, for instance, that something is limited if it has a time limited availability or only exists in certain markets. Strictly speaking, that is limited too.

While I do sometimes get caught up in this kind of buzz-type story telling, I try to tell [convince] myself that Kind of Blue wasn’t any better on the early, heavy vinyl than it is on my current flac twin, or that my 1st edition Surrealistic Pillow found another home just as nice as mine when I sold it. More often than not, I succeed. Sometimes I don’t :wink:.

Something that I really do enjoy paying extra for, is up and coming artists, where the short runs have natural causes, so to speak. They get a well-deserved hand and we get something in return which is truly a limited edition.

My latest Limited Edition purchase was Kate Rusby - Hand Me Down, double LP, orange. It is marked as number 13/1000. It’s also a signed copy of which I believe there are only 350.

That’s properly limited, but the cd version was not limited in any way.

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I have a lot of the Mobile Fidelity hybrid sacds. Many of them are limited to 2,500 copies. Despite this they can still be available a few years later and can even end up being “ reduced to clear” eventually by mofi.

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They don’t need to define it do they? It’s just a label.

Well, yes and no.

In the first instance if the album is deemed to be a limited numbered edition, then I feel I should know the maximum issue.

In the second instance, some years ago -1980- I was flipping through LPs at Woolies came across one by Steve Forbert called Jackrabbit slim. Never heard of him, I bought it. Played it, thought it was great. Gave all my LPs away to move to CD.

A few weeks ago bought it again, in limited edition red vinyl. It’s also available in limited edition green vinyl.

So, yes there it is a label.


I don’t think “rights” exist here. If it’s limited and numbered then you buy or not. You could in theory pursue a legal case on the argument that the price was inflated by a pretence that it was more limited than it actually was or on straightforward misrepresentation but, for me at least, life is too short.

Again, back to labels. The only issues for me are

  • do I want it, and,
  • am I wlllimg to pay that price?

If the answer is no to both then there’s no issue. If the answer is no to the first then there’s no issue. If the answer to both is yes then why would I want to make an issue?

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Most of the audiophile reissue labels Mofi, Music Matters,Analogue Productions etc do not own the rights to the music.
Typically they agree a licence fee to release a certain number of copies. Sometimes they are only able to get an agreement to release the title in a certain format eg 45rpm.
I guess there is nothing stopping them agreeing a new deal if they sell out their initial allocation.

Good point limited edition, there is some releases that are genuine,but some are not. One way they do it is say limited numbered edition say 2000,then any after that is not numbered but still available. Also it could be with say a added bonus, poster, lyric sheet but the actual release is still available. I’ve been duped to many times to believe this sales pitch.

Anything that is manufactured is by definition available in limited quantities (since production can’t be infinite). I consider it marketing nonsense.

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